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Volume 24 No. 113
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Names In The News

Coca-Cola "has pledged to send nearly $31 million to Japan in the next three years." The company "had originally planned to send more than $7 million in money and beverages after the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the area" (, 3/26)....Red Sox P DAISUKE MATSUZAKA has donated $1M to the Japanese Red Cross through the Red Sox Foundation to fund ongoing relief efforts (Red Sox)....Lakers C PAU GASOL pledged to donate $1,000 for every point he scored in Friday's game against the Clippers "toward a fund" set up by Direct Relief International to assist those affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Gasol scored 26 points, so he "will write a check for $26,000" (L.A. TIMES, 3/26). Grizzlies F MARC GASOL, Hawks F AL HORFORD, Wizards F JAVALE MCGEE, Bulls G DERRICK ROSE, Thunder G RUSSELL WESTBROOK and Trail Blazers F LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE also pledged to donate $1,000 for each point they scored during select games Friday-Sunday. Players who designated Friday as their relief game raised $77,000. Aldridge scored 20 points last night for a total of $20,000. Thirteen other NBA players "have pledged to donate a set amount" (Portland OREGONIAN, 3/27).

GOING HOLLYWOOD: Ahead of yesterday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., "some drivers went 'Hollywood' and others did NASCAR promotions throughout the state." JEFF GORDON appeared on "ELLEN" and talked about his part in the upcoming film "CARS 2," while JIMMIE JOHNSON "filmed an episode of the new Fox show 'BREAKING IN,' which will be on Fox beginning in April." Meanwhile, former "AMERICAN IDOL" contestant DAVID ARCHULETA sang the national anthem at Saturday's Nationwide Series Royal Purple 300, comedian HOWIE MANDEL "gave the command to start engines and actress MOLLY RINGWALD waved the green flag." Grammy-winning artist RICHARD MARX was scheduled to perform the national anthem ahead of yesterday's Auto Club 400, actor CHRISTIAN SLATER was scheduled to give the command and former boxer SUGAR RAY LEONARD was set to wave the green flag (, 3/26). Drivers JOEY LOGANO and TREVOR BAYNE "made an appearance on Thursday night's episode of 'American Idol' on Fox," as "both were seen during the broadcast on the front row" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 3/26).

HONORABLE MENTIONS: The Bruins Saturday honored former radio play-by-play announcer BOB WILSON prior to their game against the Rangers at TD Garden, "dedicating the radio booth on the building's ninth floor in his name." Wilson called Bruins games from '64-69 and '71-94 (BOSTON HERALD, 3/27)....Late NASCAR Senior VP/Operations LES RICHTER was honored prior to yesterday's Auto Club 400, and a "bronze plaque bearing his likeness was unveiled and dedicated in his honor at the entrance of the infield garage area." Richter was "instrumental in the construction" of Auto Club Speedway and is "recognized by many as the man who nurtured the NASCAR seed in Southern California." Auto Club Speedway President GILLIAN ZUCKER was joined by NASCAR Senior Consultant KEN CLAPP and Penske Racing Vice Chair WALTER CZARNECKI at the dedication (SAN GABRIEL VALLEY TRIBUNE, 3/28)....CBS NFL analyst DAN MARINO will be honored as Man of the Year on April 9 a the National Italian American Sports HOF Pittsburgh Chapter’s 25th annual dinner (THE DAILY)....U.S. Gold Medal-winning bobsledder STEVE MESLER, late Wizards Owner ABE POLLIN and Strat-O-Matic Baseball inventor HAL RICHMAN were among the seven people inducted into the National Jewish Sports HOF yesterday. National Baseball HOF President JEFF IDELSON received the Dick Steinberg Good Guy Award (BUFFALO NEWS, 3/28).

NAMES: Golfer PHIL MICKELSON graces the cover of this week's PARADE magazine, which profiles him under the headline, “The Golf Great On Winning, Losing -- And How Family Keeps It All In Perspective” (PARADE, 3/27 issue)....Former MLBer PEDRO MARTINEZ this weekend was on hand for the unveiling of his portrait, painted by SUSAN MILLER-HAVENS, at the National Portrait Gallery in DC. The art was donated by MLB Network and NESN analyst PETER GAMMONS and his wife, GLORIA (BOSTON HERALD, 3/27)....Thunder Chair CLAY BENNETT on Friday was appointed to the Board of Regents at the Univ. of Oklahoma, his alma mater (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 3/26)....Fox NFL analyst TROY AIKMAN ran yesterday’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas Half Marathon in 1:48:11 (, 3/27)....Several Suns players gathered at team Owner ROBERT SARVER’s house “for a barbecue Thursday,” where they watched the Arizona-Duke NCAA men's basketball tournament game (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/26).